October 31, 2009

Pioneers Lose Defensive Battle, 9-7, at Robert Morris

Oct. 31, 2009

Final Stats

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (October 31, 2009) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers held Robert Morris to just three field goals but were held to just 115 yards of total offense coming up short, 9-7, in a defensive Northeast Conference battle Saturday afternoon. Sophomore linebacker Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA) led three Pioneers with double digit tackles making a career-high 15 stops, nine solo, in the loss.

In addition to Mandas' 15 tackles, sophomore linebacker Michael Zambarano (Natick, MA) and junior outside linebacker Brian Flumere (Milford, MA) has 12 tackles apiece. Flumere along with defensive end Justin Embler (Cinnaminson, NJ) each had sacks while sophomore cornerback Ahmad Covington (Clementon, NJ) notched his second interception of the season.

The Pioneers (1-7, 1-5 NEC) were limited to a season-low seven first downs, 115 total yards and just one yard rushing. Both teams punted six times in the game and were a combined five of 26 on third down.

The Colonials (2-6, 2-3 NEC) has 241 yards of offense, 202 coming on the ground. Raphael Johnson led the ground attack with 115 yards on 27 carries. RMU junior place kicker Garrett Clawson hit the first of his three field goals with just 1:10 to play before halftime, connecting from 23 yards out, to give the Colonials a 3-0 advantage. Robert Morris racked up 144 yards of total offense in the first half but were able to muster just three points, while the Colonial defense held Sacred Heart to just two first downs and 40 total yards before halftime.

In the third quarter, Clawson drilled a 35-yard field goal at the 5:28 mark to increase RMU's lead to 6-0, and his second 35-yard field goal of the contest, this time with 7:17 to play, proved to be the difference. The Pioneers finally got on the board with 5:28 remaining when Dale Fink connected with Steve Tedesco for a seven-yard touchdown pass to trim Sacred Heart's deficit to 9-7.

Robert Morris ran out the final 5:20 of action behind Johnson, who rushed eight times for 47 yards in the fourth quarter alone. He started the final drive of the game with an eight-yard scamper and added his longest run of the afternoon, a 19-yard pickup, two plays later.

Fink was intercepted three times on the afternoon, completing 12-of-23 for 117 yards. Down 6-0 to start the fourth quarter, Fink had the Pioneers on the move on a 10-play drive looking to take the lead. On third and six from the RMU 19 yard line, Fink was picked for third time on the day with Landers making the interception at the one yard line to thwart the drive.

Tedesco caught four balls for 33 yards and a touchdown, his fifth-straight game with a score. The Colonials held Sacred Heart to 118 yards of total offense, including just one yard rushing.

Sacred Heart will return home for the final two games of the 2009 season. The Pioneers will play host to NEC newcomer Bryant on "Homecoming Weekend" next Saturday, November 7th. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Campus Field.